NO WAY BUT UP FOR ORIONGROUP
What goes around comes around: A testament of how the company continues to flourish through value-creation
OrionGroup International Inc. is a fast-rising conglomerate based in the Philippines, offering expertise in the fields of engineering, procurement and construction with diversified subsidiaries in cost engineering consultancy, ice production, apparel and trading.
“We started with only 2 engineers with our first venture, Quantity Solutions Inc., in 2008 and have grown ourselves to 180 employees in just over a decade“, Engineer Rynor G. Jamandre, President and CEO of the OrionGroup told the CEO Magazine as he looked back on the humble beginnings of their growing family.
GROUND UP. THE VALUE OF INTEGRITY.
“The first engineer that applied with me was an enthusiastic young man who had an eye defect. I thought it would be a challenge to bring him to client meetings. However, I felt it was my responsibility to give him an opportunity to prove to himself that his disability should not be a hindrance to success. I probably changed his life that very moment when I hired him. 12 years forward, he turned out to be one of the key persons in the company’s success. Now he’s my vice president, looking back, I thank God that I made that decision.”, Rynor reminisced.
Engineer Rynor’s emphasis on character is deeply rooted from his own experience when he was starting out as a young engineer himself. He was a topnotcher in the Civil Engineering Licensure Exams and that boosted his career greatly. “My first big break, I worked for the country’s biggest contractor and at 23 years old, I was already entrusted by my employer to handle billions worth of projects. I made sure that that trust would remain steadfast, never burning bridges with anyone.” He later joined a notable real estate developer. Despite the prevalence of bribery and under-the-table dealings in the construction industry, he was always straightforward and honest with contractors and suppliers.
Thus, the OrionGroup now lives up to the ideology of honesty and integrity – the culture that the whole organization is well-known for.
“We may not be the biggest firm out there but we can vouch that we are a trustworthy company,” Rynor proudly added. “It’s because we are not profit-driven but value-driven. I always tell my people that in everything you do, always have the drive to create value. When you create value for others, you increase your own value. We always strive to make our customers happy, and when we do so, the more we impart value.”
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE PEOPLE.
In the light of this value-creation philosophy, Rynor makes sure that his people are well-taken care of. “The pandemic has caused 80% of our on-going projects to be put on-hold. Despite this, no single employee was laid off – a collective decision of everyone in the organization. Executives volunteered to waive their salaries for the first three crucial months of the lockdown, ensuring that the employees within the rank and file did not miss their wages.”, he proudly added as he was reminded of the moving moment.
“As we Filipinos always say, ‘habang maikli ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot’ (While the blanket is short, learn to adjust.)” – an attestation of Filipino patience and resilience.
“I cannot remember yelling at any of my employees even at the height of frustration. I want them to respect each other and it starts with me as their CEO,” Rynor would fondly share. “Every meeting starts with a prayer and every employee has picked up the practice of praying in their own meetings. This reminds us that we just don’t work to support our families but we are part of a bigger ecosystem that demands our dedication to serve.”
OrionGroup’s long term goal is to transform the company into an employee-owned corporation. “When everyone acts like an owner, it is easier to expect loyalty, dedication and going the extra mile for everyone’s benefit.”
PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY
Prior to the global health crisis, OrionGroup had long generated R&D pilot projects that incorporate their mastery of construction cost and innovation using new technologies. One of the many pilot projects was an emergency shelter program called “SpeedFrame” designed to address the numerous disasters that the Philippines experiences every year. The emergency shelter program was tested as a dormitory for OrionGroup’s own employees. When the pandemic struck and the dormitory was vacated, they decided to donate the SpeedFrame shelters to hospitals and local government units as their quarantine facilities.
The generosity of OrionGroup to give away its SpeedFrame units allowed an early template on how to isolate COVID patients from regular hospital patients. They shared the plans online for other hospitals to follow. Eventually, the SpeedFrame units were requested by manufacturing companies for their own isolation facilities within their compounds.
Today, the same innovation saw SpeedFrame being used as hotel rooms, storage, stores, houses, offices and other useful applications. Fast, economical and effective: a product that captured OrionGroup’s desire to be of value.
“When things settle down, we will be able to pursue more opportunities. This pandemic gave us time to think how we can create more value,” Rynor said. Now the company is developing innovative solutions for housing and energy-generation problems. OrionGroup has recently partnered with a Kansas-based industry giant, Burns and McDonnell. “They wanted to team up with a company they could trust, regardless of the size,” he excitingly added.
The company’s reputation for rendering value extends beyond their organization. Rynor’s altruism and unending passion to create a sustainable community have made him come up with the initiative to assist in the fight against the virus by building quarantine and treatment facilities for COVID 19 patients. Colleagues from the industry paid heed to the company’s simple LinkedIn post in March 2020 which allowed them to complete the required sources for the project in just 48 hours through donations in kind – a truly remarkable realization of the Filipino “Bayanihan (civic unity and cooperation).”
“If you can build something from nothing, how much more if you have everything that you need? Do not hold back when you give and it will come back to you many times over.” Rynor quipped.
The OrionGroup is a testament of the power of generosity – a company championing Filipino talents and virtues, thriving to be one of the finest organizations by creating smart spaces with value, making the world a better place to live in.